Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sera Cahoone, Stoneseed and Cassie Lewis (the Foxxtones) @ Neurolux (5/28/13)

I like Sera Cahoone so much that I gave a copy of her album Deer Creek Canyon to my dad as a present.  Seeing as how my dad taught me a lot about music and writing (indeed, this blog probably wouldn't exist if it weren't for him), I can think of no higher compliment.  Her show at the VaC back in November was one of my favorites of last year, so when I saw that she'd be coming back, I immediately marked the concert down on my calendar.

I counted about twenty people when I got down to Neurolux, including Sera Cahoone and her pedal steel player.  When she played, I counted around forty-five.  A solid turnout.

Cassie Lewis from the new local duo the Foxxtones opened the show.  Her partner, Taylor Rushing, didn't make it to the gig for reasons unknown.  With a voice like hers, however, she didn't need much accompaniment.  Lewis's rich, blues-mama vocals were so strong and massive that she drowned out the handful of folks chatting behind me.  It was thoughtful of her to step a foot back from the mics when she really started belting; if she hadn't, she might have blown out someone's eardrums.  Thanks to all of this firepower, Lewis's honky-tonk-steeped originals sounded right at home next to her covers of "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and "Jolene."

Stoneseed played next with a new bassist.  Their lived-in blues/folk tunes and smooth, politely funky grooves proved just as enjoyable here as they did at the Tater Famine show back in January.  Ty Clayton's gritty baritone laid on the drawl a little thick at times, but he had brains enough not to rely on it too much.  It didn't hurt that he had Lindsey Hunt Terrell's coolly sultry vocals and sweet, yawning violin backing him up.  Their lyrics about whiskey, dark days, heading down the road and the like had a touch of corn in them, but their music was both slick enough and earthy enough to make it feel like part of a balanced diet.

Before she played, Sera Cahoone received a gushing introduction from Radio Boise DJ Wendy Fox.  I don't fault her for it: as both I and Neurolux regular/Merle Haggard devotee Greg Wiggins said afterwards, this was country music as it should be.  Her lyrics' occasional eschewal of rhyme only enhanced their air of intimacy and emotional frankness; it was as if she didn't have the time or the patience to gussy up what she felt.  Her simple, evergreen melodies, on the other hand, showed plenty of polish.  Both ends met the middle in Cahoone's singing.  Confident but not preening, sensitive without drowning in her own tears, her clean vocals felt as easy as talking but hit just the right nuance with every note.  Add on her sure sense of rhythm, her chatty, down-to-earth stage presence and Jay Kardong's elegant pedal steel embroidery and you had one of the loveliest performances that I've heard this year.

The rest of the audience seemed to feel the same way: they whooped and cheered wildly throughout.  "You don't have to clap along," Cahoone said at the start of "Nervous Wreck."  Most of the crowd did.

You can find info on these acts on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Eric Gilbert and Radio Boise.  If you like what you've read and would like to help keep it going, click the yellow "Give" button and donate whatever you can.  Even $5 would help.

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